Written by: Monte Poole, Yahoo Sports

After enduring his first three acts as a basketball head coach, beginning in Cleveland before shifting to Los Angeles and then returning to Cleveland, Mike Brown has known success and failure. Still, he was dubious when Act IV materialized in November 2019.

This was a few weeks into the 2019-20 NBA season, and Brown was satisfied with being the lead assistant under Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. The head-coaching position for which he was being recruited was intriguing but well beyond the sphere of North America, much less the NBA.

Nigeria. Head coach of the men’s basketball national team. The phone call came directly from Ahmadu Musa Kida, president of the Nigerian Basketball Federation.

Whoa. This, Brown initially figured, could be a great opportunity for Jarron Collins, at the time a fellow assistant in Golden State.

“But by the time I got the (next) call, I started thinking about the upcoming Olympics and thought it would be kind of neat to be a head coach in the Olympics,” Brown says a few weeks before the Olympics open on July 23. Only 12 teams go every four years.

“On top of that, Nigeria. Representing Africa. It just seemed like the right fit.”

Brown, 51, solidified his commitment after consulting with a few friends in the coaching fraternity, including Gregg Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs coach that hired him as an assistant in 2000. Unofficial advisers stressed the magnitude of the role.

“They all basically gave me the same message: What a fantastic experience you will go through if you say yes,” Brown recalls. “’It’s going come with some challenges, but the experience can’t be beat.’

“So, a month later I said, ‘yes.’ ”

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